Gambling on Prospects: Rymer Liriano

This series will look at prospects and show whether they are worth an investment on your fantasy team. Every owner knows that the secret to a strong minors system is knowing who to throw away and knowing who to keep. Each player featured in this series will be given one of the following recommendations:

  1. Hold ’em : If you own this prospect, hang tight. While times may seem rough, the talent is worth holding onto.
  2. Fold ’em : If you own this prospect, now is the time to sell while they may still have some name value.
  3. Walk Away: This prospect is not worth paying attention to in your league.
  4. Run: Get to the waiver wire immediately and put a claim in for this prospect.

Rymer Liriano missed all of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery, but is definitely making a statement with the bat in his return this year. Forgotten on most prospect lists heading into 2014, I ranked Liriano at #86 on my Top 100 prospect list. A toolsy athletic outfielder, Liriano is putting it all together in his return after a year absence.

Here is a look at Liriano this past spring training, courtesy of mlb.com:

The Past:

Rymer Liriano was signed by the San Diego Padres in 2007 as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. He played in the Dominican League in 2008 before coming to the United States in 2009. In rookie ball, he hit .350 with 8 home runs and 14 stolen bases in just under 200 at bats that year, making the MWL all-star team. Through three levels in 2010, Liriano struggled as a 19-year-old before taking a big step in 2011. He would go on to be a league all-star in 2011 and 2012.

Year LVL AB R HR RBI SB BB K AVG OBP SLG
2011 A-A+ 510 89 12 68 67 53 108 .298 .365 .465

Heading into 2012, Liriano was ranked as the #49 overall prospect by Baseball America and at #52 by Baseball Prospectus. Liriano showed off his some of his plus power and plus speed, and while the 9% BB rate is good, the nearly 19% K rate speaks to his aggressiveness at the plate.

Year LVL AB R HR RBI SB BB K AVG OBP SLG
2012  A+-AA 461 65 8 61 32 41 117 .282 .353 .421

2012 gave us more of the same from Liriano; some pop and a lot of speed with a high K rate. At 21 years old, he was promoted to AA and earned a trip to the Futures Game, where he played with Xander Bogaerts, Oscar Taveras, Francisco Lindor, Jurickson Profar, Jose Fernandez and Yordano Ventura.

In Spring Training of 2013, Liriano blew out his elbow and went through Tommy John surgery. Baseball America’s top 100 list came out after the news and he was left off it completely. Baseball Prospectus had him listed at #39 that year while neither site had him listed heading into 2014.

The Present:

Rymer Liriano is making his case for a September call up with the Padres with his recent play. After a year lay-off, the slow start in April was almost to be expected. Looking at his May numbers, Liriano has been an absolute monster, clubbing 7 home runs and slugging .550. His K rate for the month was still 24% as it looks like he will always have that high strike out rate.

Year LVL AB R HR RBI SB BB K AVG OBP SLG
April AA 91 13 3 12 5 10 26 .213 .295 .404
May AA 111 20 7 20 4 13 31 .315 .432 .550
Total 2014 AA 206 33 10 32 9 23 59 .272 .348 .485

The Future:

Blessed with plus power and speed, Liriano is a big player at 6’0″, 230 lbs. He had a very strong arm for right field, though he has been limited to left field this season in his return from Tommy John. Reports are his cannon of an arm will return and he will move back to right field, where he profiles as a power hitter with speed. Liriano’s aggressive approach at the plate will likely limit his ability to continue hitting .300, but he could be a .270 hitter with 20-25 HR and 15-20 SB in the majors. If Liriano continues with another month like last, it won’t be long before he’s back on your league mates’ radar and the opportunity to acquire him will be gone. Recommendation: Run. 

 

Other Prospect Notes:

Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays. Just 21 years old, Pompey could very well be the center fielder of the future for the Blue Jays. Pretty neat, coming from a Mississauga native. Good speed, excellent defense with some pop, he’s hitting .332/.411/.484 in High A ball. Prospect Ranking in 2014 #N/A. Recommendation: Hold ‘Em

Kyle Crick, SP, San Francisco Giants. Crick broke out in 2013 with a 34% K rate and really flew up the prospect charts heading into 2014. The 21-year-old was placed aggressively in AA and has struggled mightily this year. While the flame thrower is still striking out 25% of batters, he’s walking 18% of them. Control was the final piece in the puzzle for Crick and it hasn’t yet come. Sunday’s line of 5.1 2 1 2 6 is a step in the right direction.  Prospect Ranking in 2014 #35. Recommendation: Hold ‘Em.

Colin Moran, 3B, Miami Marlins.  The 6th overall pick in the 2013 draft, Moran’s hit tool was going to be his ticket to the big leagues. At 21 years old in high A ball he’s hitting .273/.317/.357. His power may never develop; and at the hot corner he likely won’t provide enough for fantasy teams. Prospect Ranking in 2014 #82. Recommendation: Walk Away.

Dylan Bundy, SP, Baltimore Orioles.  Bundy threw 4 perfect innings in extended spring training yesterday, after getting 3 innings of work last week. This was the 4th overall pick in 2011 who completely dominated the minors in 2012 and worked his way from A ball all the way to the majors. His velocity is in the low 90s and he could make an impact in 2014; a significant one in 2015. Prospect Ranking in 2014 #28. Recommendation: Run

Tyler Glasnow, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates. Big 6’7″ RHP threw 5 more shutout innings on Monday, now having given up just 2 runs in his last 4 starts. He continued to walk a lot of batters bringing his season total to 26 in just 37 innings, to go with 41 strike outs. Glasnow is only 20 years old; if he can throw strikes, he’s a top of the rotation arm. Prospect Ranking in 2014 #53. Recommendation: Hold ‘Em

Dante Bichette Jr, 3B, New York Yankees. 51st pick overall in 2011, Bichette slashed .342/.446/.505 in 2011 before he came crashing down in 2012 (.248/.322/.331) and 2013 (.214/.292/.331). A simplified swing this year is producing results and it’s time to put him back as someone to watch in dynasty leagues. His numbers in 2014 in High-A: .281/.371/.458 with a 12% BB rate and 18% K rate. Prospect Ranking in 2014 N/A. Recommendation: Hold ‘Em.

 

If you’re gonna play the game boy, you gotta learn to play it right.

Paul Hartman

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Fantasy Baseball player since 1987. Creator of Fantasy Assembly, yet just fortunate enough to be a part of it.